Sex & the Spectrum: 'The Intimate Aspie'

April Peveteaux
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sexuality and spectrumWhile most discussions surrounding autism focus on childhood issues (prevention, education, and a cure), much less attention is paid to adults living on the spectrum.

In Good Vibration's interview with Dr. Amy Marsh, sexologist and creator of The Intimate Aspie, she too admitted that there isn't a lot of research or information surrounding adult sexuality while living on the spectrum. For those that are in it, and the neurotypicals who love them.

What is similar when we discuss living on the spectrum is the need for a change in expectations.

As Dr. Marsh points out, non-Asperger's Syndrome partners also have certain thoughts that need to be challenged within the realm of an intimate relationship, so the need for clear communication is amplified (even though this is necessary in all types of people.)

The non-AS person will probably be doing most of the apparent adjusting in the relationship, because the AS partner is usually working overtime just to deal with the anxiety and stresses of being around another person who has emotional and sexual expectations for the relationship. In other words, the non-AS person will feel he, she, or ze is doing most of the work, but that’s because non-AS people don’t train themselves to look for what the AS person is doing and contributing. AS people are supposed to be socially “clueless” and rigid, but the truth is, the same is true for non-AS people, who have set certain standards for social and emotional interactions simply because they are in the majority.

Then, the partners should expect to use clear, concise language to work out boundaries, rules, and other things about the relationship. Sensory stuff should be discussed. Intimate time together should be planned so that the AS person doesn’t have to deal with the anxiety that comes from having to switch gears suddenly, as in “it’s a beautiful day, let’s go for a walk!”

Outside of these guidelines, anything can go, just as with a non-AS partner. While this is just a small portion of an interview with Dr. Marsh, she recommends if you're in a relationship with someone on the spectrum, you immerse yourself in reading to understand your partner and how his or her needs may differ from your own.

Both you and your partner can learn more on The Intimate Aspie where Dr. Marsh explores gender and sexual diversity in a sex-positive way.


Image via Niffty/Flickr

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